Fri | Jun 18, 2021

Study-permit woes

Published:Tuesday | May 22, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Deidre S. Powell

Dear Miss Powell,

I am writing for some advice about study permits. I applied for a study permit to Canada last year but was turned down because of issues relating to financial status, family ties in Jamaica, police certificate, letter of acceptance from a school and proof of visit.

I would like to reapply this year. However, I do not understand what the High Commission meant by 'family ties in Jamaica' and 'proof of visit', as it was a study-permit application form that I had filled out. Could you kindly lighten my darkness on these issues? Thank you.

- R.C.

Dear R.C.,

When you apply for a study permit, you need to satisfy the immigration officer that you are eligible to study in Canada. You will be required to prove that:

1. You have been accepted by a school in Canada (letter of acceptance)

2. You have the financial means or resources to pay for tuition fees and living expenses during the time of your study (sponsorship or scholarship letter, bank statements)

3. You are healthy and have a medical clearance

4. You are a law-abiding citizen and not a security threat to Canada (police certificate)

5. You intend to leave Canada at the end of you studies or at the end of the time that you are authorised to stay in Canada

In your particular case, the visa officer found that you did not demonstrate strong family ties in Jamaica. This means you have not demonstrated to the officer that you have a family, or group of related persons by blood, marriage or adoption, that you were closely connected to, or to whom you are responsible. The officer may have been concerned that your visit may not be temporary and that you do not plan to leave Canada on completion of your studies. Many people emphasise their close family links in Canada and forget about emphasising their close family and community ties to Jamaica.

Evidence of your intent

The latter is actually more important. Evidence of your intent to return to Jamaica may include the presence of family members in Jamaica such as a spouse, child, mother, and father; proof that you have a job from which you will be taking leave of absence, or the purchase of a return ticket. If you show that you have more family members in Canada than Jamaica, then the visa officer will have reasons to doubt that you will return to Jamaica when your studies have been completed.

It's unusual for Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to state 'proof of visit' as a reason for denying a student visa, unless there was something in your application that caused the visa officer to enquire about that particular issue. For example, if you had a temporary-resident visa and you indicated that you had visited Canada before, the officer may require proof that you, in fact, had done so. This is usually proven by showing a stamp in your passport which indicates the date of your arrival and departure from Canada. Other evidence that you can provide are hotel receipts, boarding passes and photographs of your visit. Without more information I am unable to deal with this issue in any definite term.

Do not be discouraged. If your circumstances have changed, or if you have additional evidence, you have the option of making a new application. However, ensure you have an updated letter of acceptance from the school, provide the required proof of funds, details about your family ties in Jamaica and, most importantly, make certain you do not have a criminal record.

If you think you may have a problem with your application, consult with a certified immigration consultant, or with an immigration lawyer, to assist with your application.

Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars, with main office located in Ottawa, Ontario. Her areas of practice are in immigration, personal injury, family and administration of estates. She is on the roster of mediators for Ottawa, Toronto and the Dispute Resolution Foundation of Jamaica. Email: info@deidrepowell.com. Subject line: Immigration